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Law
Cherokee chief rejects need to approve constitution


Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith said the tribe's new constitution doesn't need to be approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Smith said the tribe's top court has ruled that federal approval is not required. But the Bush administration considers the constitution to be unapproved under the Principal Chiefs Act of 1970 and the document itself.

Smith, however, claims the Self Determination Act of 1975 implicitly overrode the Chiefs Act.

Cherokee voters approved amendments to the constitution to eliminate future federal review. But the BIA is concerned that Freedmen, the descendants of former African slaves, were denied a chance to vote.

The tribe has been forced to enroll Freedmen but a petition is circulating to deny them citizenship. The tribe would be able to kick them out without federal review.

Get the Story:
Cherokees: Chief Disagrees: BIA asserts stance on constitution (The Tulsa World 9/9)

Cason Letter:
Cherokee Nation Constitution (August 30, 2006)

Cherokee Nation Judicial Appeals Tribunal Decision in Freedmen Case:
Allen v. Cherokee Nation (March 7, 2006)

Relevant Links:
Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes - http://www.freedmen5tribes.com
Freedmen Conference - http://www.freedmenconference.com

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